We need more!
April 6, 2020
On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The legislation is a wide-ranging federal relief package intended to help mitigate the damage COVID-19 is doing to our families and our economy. This included expanded unemployment insurance, provided direct payments to Americans, and guaranteed loans for small businesses, but we can't stop there.
While this package was a significant improvement from the out-of-touch Senate's proposal, it does not go as far as I'd like to give enough Oregonians the relief and security they deserve. We need more NOW. We need bigger benefits, money out the door faster so veterans and people with disabilities can get checks now, and better benefits to assist with critical programs. I am already at work on the next phase of relief to improve the CARES Act.
Here are some of the things I'm fighting for:
- Monthly Universal Basic Income payments of at least $2,000/month made available to everyone;
- Nationwide rent freeze on residential and commercial properties;
- Triple funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program;
- Double the financial assistance available through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to $20,000 in immediate assistance to small businesses and nonprofits;
- COVID-19 testing, treatment and future vaccine for all that need it, including the uninsured, at no out-of-pocket cost;
- Expand food assistance for vulnerable populations and allow for them to be used online so recipients are able to safely abide by social distancing recommendations;
- Emergency aid for local and regional food businesses for operating cost grants in order to help these critical businesses respond to the crisis;
- SBA grant eligibility for state-legal cannabis companies; and
- Increased funding for election assistance and vote-by-mail nationwide.
Additionally, we worked hard to secure crucial oversight over the Trump administration's use of the bailout money. The CARES Act requires inspectors general throughout the federal government to conduct oversight over spending through a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. There is also a Congressional Oversight Commission and a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to oversee and audit investments from the Treasury Department. These protections will help ensure that Donald Trump and his administration don't improperly use taxpayer dollars.
I strongly support Rep. Peter DeFazio’s plan to place restrictions on relief money given to major airlines to ensure they are using that money to protect workers and their wages, and not funding stock buybacks, corporate bonuses, and excessive compensation. I am fighting to further expand oversight over the government's relief spending because we must put workers first—period.
To access the latest on economic resources available to you, visit my webpage, which I update frequently: https://blumenauer.house.gov. I will continue working every day to provide relief to Oregonians suffering from this crisis. The COVID-19 outbreak has presented challenges, but we will overcome them together. In the meantime, stay at home and stay healthy.